17:29 PM, 9th November 2011, About 10 years ago
Buy to let landlords evading tax face a crack down from a new HM Revenue and Customs task force.
Tax inspectors will target buy to let landlords with portfolios of three or more properties in the North West and North Wales.
The specialist unit follows on from trials of property tax compliance units in several areas that have netted large amounts of ‘lost’ tax.
In some cases, property investors who sold homes several years ago have been pinpointed by HMRC.
HMRC analyse mountains of data to uncover tax cheating landlords:
Mike Wells, director of risk and intelligence at HMRC, said: “These task forces will come down hard and fast on those who have chosen to break the rules and deliberately evade the taxes they should be paying.
“Honest businesses, however, have absolutely nothing to worry about.
“HMRC is clear – if you deliberately seek to evade tax we can and will track you down and you’ll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”
The task force is one of 12 launched by HMRC in recent months as training of newly-recruited tax inspectors under a £900 million investment of funds is completed.
Property owners with rental or second homes overseas are already under investigation.
The government hopes to raise £7 billion a year in tax illegally avoided by individuals and businesses.
Other taxpayers targeted in North Wales and the North West include scrap metal dealers, food outlets and self-employed construction workers.
Tax evasion is a crime which means HMRC can investigate any number of closed tax years in retrospect while raising surcharges, interest and fines that can double the amount of tax owed.
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